Friday, October 31, 2014

Autumn On Main Street USA...

   I've been absolutely overrun with obligation since returning to real life after our lengthy Disney World vacation...I've hardly had enough time to appreciate the gorgeous autumn that we're having up here.  It seems like everything changed during the time we were in Florida, which is ironic considering the autumn season at Disney World is about to change over to Christmastime.  Though I really love Christmas in the Magic Kingdom, there is an inexplicable charm to the fall decorations. I only wished they lasted longer in the ACTUAL season.
   Here are some shots I took last week while stopping to smell the roses on Main Street favorite place in the world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

And We're Back...

   Disney vacations come go so quickly.  It seems like the months of planning have all disappeared into the ether, and here we are again lost in the sadness of post Disney depression.  Fortunately we had one of the greatest vacations ever, filled with new experiences (hotels, restaurants, attractions...) and plenty of great friends both old and new.  I'm so incredibly humbled by everyone who came out to our Crescent Lake bar crawl meet up...76+ people in total, and to those who went out of their way to say hi in the parks.  You guys make everything we do worth it...and I'll say it again, Disney Hipster Blog/Podcast fans are the most attractive bunch.   For those of you who followed along via Twitter or Instagram, thank you so much...half the fun of these trips are sharing the fun with you. :)

   As far as the "work" part of the trip, rest assured that I indeed found time to fill my reservoir of Disney goodness. Be it photos, videos, or blog/podcast ideas...we should have plenty to get us through our next trip.  In the realm of creative projects, I have a few fun things brewing, even though they might take a bit longer than some of my other ventures.  (no, the sequel to Lets Move To Disney World is NOT on the horizon quite yet...)   I seriously can't wait to get started...and to start planning our next trip! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Quickie: Random Shots From The Disney Magic...

   We are in the midst of a (supposedly) glorious Walt Disney World vacation!  And this has me thinking a lot about our NEXT Disney adventure...a four night Disney cruise in January.  To help get me in the mood I've been perusing our photos from our first cruise on the Disney Magic this past January.   Here are some random shots that make my heart smile...

I have a love/hate relationship with Frozen...but my heart is weak for Olaf. This photo op in the 
terminal is fantastic. 

We loved exploring the ship before it was completely crowded with people. Though the
food was meh I loved the atmosphere of Animator's Palate. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Design: The Terror Of The Evil Queen

   It's been quite a while since we last visited the Design volume of The Archive Series, even though this is probably my favorite in the series. Remember the awesome metamorphosis of Ursula?!?!  The process of developing an animated film is what draws me in.
   The Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is actually a fantastic example of fully well rounded character, the vision of which is straight forward from the beginning.  Her motive (to be fairest one of all...) drove the look of the character since conception.  She had to be beautiful of course, but in a completely opposite way than our heroine.   The stark lines, tall and slender harsh features directly oppose Snow Whites.

   Of course the real terror in this film comes during the Queen's own metamorphosis into the frightening old hag.  The actual process of brewing the potion and subsequent change is legitimately one of the scariest moments in animated history.  The queen's true self is actually represented in this form.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Maelstrom Fishing Village Exit Queue Chronicled By The Dis...

   The Dis has never been a blog that we have any contact with.  They seem relatively disconnected from smaller Disney blogs, (like the one you're reading now...) and hence I can't have an informed opinion. However, they do provide a lot of useful information for people visiting the parks, especially those visiting for the first time.
   One of the favorite extracurricular services they have been providing comes via their Youtube!  The Dis posts these wonderful "atmosphere" videos.  In these clips the camera is simply left to record for five minutes, gathering a particular feel.  I find myself watching these pretty often, especially when I'm particularly homesick for Disney World.
   After the recent closure of Maelstrom I found myself increasingly upset about the fishing village exit of the attraction. This was arguably the best theming in the attraction, and one of the best "faux dusk" inside/outside environments created by Disney.  It was perfect.  You can imagine how happy I was, while trolling Youtube this morning, to discover that The Dis had chronicled this area with not one BUT THREE atmosphere videos.   Here they are:

   Thanks a lot to The Dis for providing these awesome videos.  I'm really glad someone took the time  not only to document this space, but actually gather videos that articulate the feel of it.  I'll miss you fishing village. :(

Friday, October 17, 2014

Disney Hipster Blog WDW Meet Up Tomorrow!

   Yay! We're at Walt Disney World, and would like to remind everyone that we're having a meet and greet / bar crawl!  All four members of the Disney Hipster Podcast will be there, drinking and talking about Disney! Plus, we will have Disney Hipster buttons to give away!  Here is all the valid info...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WDW Countdown Chain: 6 - 1

   This is it folks. Adam and I are leaving for Disney World tomorrow evening, and we couldn't be more excited/hectic.  I, for one, haven't even begun to pack...but whatever: WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! I am in the best mood ever. 
   So with our trip upon us, its time to finish off this list of things I'm looking forward to during our vacation...

   6: Wishes From Top Of The World Lounge.

   Watching the epic Magic Kingdom fireworks is always fun...but the experience is heightened 10 fold by viewing them from Bay Lake Towers own Top Of The World Lounge.  Not only is the space gorgeous, and drinks plentiful, but the view of the fireworks can't be beat.  This is one of my favorite things of all time. 

   5: Drinking Around The World

   Come knew this was going to be on the list right?  Drinking around World Showcase is a right of passage... and is fun year round. However, the additional offerings during the Food and Wine Festival really steps it up a notch.  Drinking around the world is even better when you're with good friends...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vegetarian Lasagna At 50's Prime Time Cafe...

   You guys know we love 50's Prime Time Cafe...especially sitting at the bar enjoying a peanut butter and jelly milk shake. (preferably with onion rings...) But theming is king here, and that is what pushes this restaurant ahead of nearby eateries at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

   The decor, as you could easily guess, is kitschy 1950's nostalgia.  Think black and white televisions (that play on a continuous loop of awesome vintage clips...) knick knacks, formica, and plenty of pastels.   This is seriously one of the best themed restaurants. Charming and perfectly ridiculous.

   50's Prime Time also has a rare distinction at Disney World with the fact that it has TWO vegetarian options on its current menu. The current standard at WDW restaurants is either one...or occasionally zero, options for us who choose a meat free lifestyle. Kuddos to Prime Time for bucking the system a little bit.  However, the good news stops there.

Friday, October 10, 2014

WDW Countdown Chain: 11 - 7

   You guys! Our Walt Disney World vacation is less than a week away! And while I'm at my most excitable at this point in the planning process, I'm also a little stressed out.  I have a huge ongoing list of things to take pictures/videos supplement the lean times on this blog.  But that just comes with the territory.  In the mean time I'm having so much fun counting down the 20 things I'm most excited about, both old and new.  Lets continue the countdown...

   11: Exploring New Harambe!

   Much like Seven Dwarves Mine Train, this new addition to Disney's Animal Kingdom was on the verge of completion as we were wrapping up our May trip.  At the time we were able to peak over the construction walls, which prompted our excitement.  Not only was this an area for the new Festival of the Lion King theater, it was a beautiful and well themed corridor of goodness.  I can't wait to explore!

   10: Craft Beer In The Odyssey! 

I know this is a picture of me with a frozen Kirin in the Japan pavilion, but look 
how adorable I look? 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Norway's Spirit Will Always Be Adventure

   Maelstrom, an attraction that opening in 1988 as part of the Norway pavilion at Epcot Center, closed today. Over the next year or so Maelstrom will be converted into a Frozen themed attraction.  I realize that I've been very vocally upset, and have general distrust of the Disney company in regard to this decision, but I'd like to reiterate how special this attraction (and pavilion in general...) is to the Disney Hipster Blog.

   When I started going to Disney World as an adult, a mere eight years ago, I was a jaded 22 year old, who had no interest in Disney.  But upon my first visit there were certain things that appealed to my specific sensibilities.  Carousel of Progress, Ellen's Energy Adventure, Swiss Family Treehouse...when we started the blog most people assumed these were ironic reapropriations.  However, my appreciation was among the  sincerest feelings I'd ever had. (keep in mind, I was a super bitchy gay 22 year old...sarcasm was king queen.) Right in the middle of these "misfit" attractions was Maelstrom. A ride that very few casual guests even register in the top half of their visits...though die hard Disney park fans inexplicably rally behind.
   Its easy to think that the communal love of Maelstrom comes from a sarcastic irony laden place...with its "you are not the first to pass this way" ethos connecting the proverbial Disney community.  In a way its very hard to deny that people felt bad for "poor Maelstrom."  A great example being the notedly outdated film that succeeds the actual attraction.  How many times have guests (and ourselves) simply walked past the film, whether it's already playing or not, to simply move on to the next World Showcase sight? It is very easy to rally behind an attraction that people skip in lieu of boredom. However the fact is this film didn't age quiet as well as the attraction, and hence isn't being mourned on the same level.

   Maelstrom was sensory perfection. The "Maelstrom feel" was prevalent beyond the attractions entrance, bleeding into the entirety of the Norway pavilion.  As soon as you rounded the corner past the Kringla Bakeri and caught wind of the gorgeous waterfall, epic building facades, and intriguing signage you would be hard pressed not to join the queue.  And this is where Maelstrom truly begins. Yes, the majority of this short queue was simple switchbacks...but the Norwegian navigational mural to the right, and notorious Norway tourism mural to the left. (Maybe the most epic hidden Mickey ever???) This queue defined anticipation on many drunken nights, for myself and gaggles of Epcot visitors.  And here is where you first encounter the smell. A specific blend of old stagnate water, chlorine, resin and rubber props...this smell was everything.  And it carried through the next few minutes of your life.

   As you embarked on your adventure you would board a gorgeously sculpted viking ship.  This ride vehicle being among the most unique in the Disney line with the Doombuggie's from The Haunted Mansion and pirate ships from Peter Pan's Flight.  Though any seat among this vessel was amazing, there was nothing more perfect than the front row directly behind the bow of the ship.
   The visuals account for plenty of this sensory perfection as well.  Odin's eye spilling gorgeous shimmering lights as you ascended the only lift on the attraction, while narrating the iconic opening lines, is perhaps the attractions defining moment.  Show scenes depicting a truncated history of viking settlers, and troll mythology make up the bulk of the attraction thereafter...filled with catchy and charming dialogue, that will inevitably enter the lexicon of your day to day vocabulary.  As you continued on your journey there are miss proportioned polar bears, even more trolls, and an always thrilling drop into the north sea and its ridiculous oil derricks.  This final scene is the culmination of perfection.  Dim, noisy, moist perfection.  "Norway's spirit will always be adventure."

   I wish my sentimentality stopped at the actual ride portion of the attraction, but the unload area holds a place in most fans heart as well.  This gorgeously recreated Norwegian fishing village straddles the line between daylight and dusk in a morbidly Disney fashion. In addition to the facades, there are sound effects emanating from the buildings adding to the ambiance.   If I could recreate one area from Maelstrom in my own home, it would be this.  Sight, sound, smell, perfection.

   I've never been one to speculate on a Disney project before its completion.  For all I know the Frozen attraction replacing Maelstrom will be amazing, and I'll forget about Maelstrom in due time.  However, this scenario seems highly unlikely.  Though Frozen is a good movie, it seems awfully short sighted to force it upon a pavilion where it barely fits and only vaguely resembles.  A best case scenario bestows a light overlay in the style of the nearby Gran Fiesta Tour... which would theoretically save the "feel" of the attraction. This seems highly unlikely however.  With that said, we bid you the most humble and heartfelt adieu, Maelstrom.  You were the "little ride that could" and we will never forget the joy you brought us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

WDW Countdown Chain: 14-12

   We're getting closer and closer to our annual October trip to Walt Disney World...and in preparation we're looking at a few things that we're particularly excited about.  Some of the things are new (to us...) while others are old standbys that still make us smile.  If you need to catch up on the previous two installments: 20-18 and 17-15.

   14: Seven Dwarves Mine Train

   You see that sad picture above?  When we last visited Disney World the long awaited Seven Dwarves Mine Train was mere days away from opening.  Though we had high hopes of soft opening while we were there, we had no such luck.  Since we go to Disney World a few times a year, it seems like this space has been blocked off forever, and I'm super excited to associate the real estate with an actual attraction.  Plus, its super beautiful. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Muziki At Animal Kingdom...

   Lets file blog post under a few categories: awesome theming, random and bizarre, often overlooked.   Located on the Africa side of the trail between African and Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom,  the Muzika stand is a great addition to the park.  No, it doesn't serve any REAL purpose, besides being a stopping point for you Wilderness Explorers...but it does add some fun theming to the area.  Lets take a quick look...

   This area is rustically themed, as is the rest of Harambe, utilizing lots of beat up weathered wood and thatch.  The display features many different African instruments.  No, you can't actually play with these, though there are usually a few drums around to beat on. Normally you will find kids playing here, but I've seen a few drunk adults get in on the action too.